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Susan Miller Dorsey (1857–1946) was the first female superintendent of a major metropolitan school district in the United States, overseeing Los Angeles City Schools from 1920–1929. Daughter of James and Hannah Benedict Miller, and originally from Pennsylvania, Dorsey graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie in 1877 and became a teacher of the classics. In 1896 she began her educational career in the Los Angeles area, teaching Latin at the only high school, and quickly ascended to leadership positions including department head, assistant principal, assistant superintendent, and finally, at age 63, superintendent. During her 9 years as superintendent, Dorsey led the district amidst incredible population growth, with enrollment increasing 275%, according to the L.A. Times. She oversaw nearly 400 schools with a budget of about $30 million. Dorsey was so well respected in her community, her portrait was commissioned and paid for by $1 donations from teachers across the area. She was presented the portrait at her retirement in 1929, and the Susan Miller Dorsey High School today still proudly bears her name in South Los Angeles.

Kappa Delta Pi invited her to join the Laureate Chapter in 1926.

Contributed by Laura K. Handler, University of North Carolina Charlotte
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